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Health & Medicine In the News ...

New study debunks notion that salt consumption contributes to weight loss
Posted on Wednesday January 22, 2020

Researchers found that reducing sodium intake in adults with elevated blood pressure or hypertension decreased thirst, urine volume and blood pressure, but did not affect metabolic energy needs. These results support the traditional notion that decreasing sodium intake is critical to managing hypertension -- disputing recent studies.

New species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in infected wound
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

A hitherto unknown antibiotic-resistant bacteria species, in the same family as E. coli and Salmonella spp., has been found and classified in Sweden. The proposed taxonomic name of the species -- the first of the new genus -- is Scandinavium goeteborgense, after the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, where the bacterium was isolated and the research was done.

Maternal depression and atopic dermatitis in children linked
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

A recent study suggests that maternal depression in the postpartum period, and even beyond, is associated with the development of atopic dermatitis throughout childhood and adolescence.

To reverse engineer dynamics of microbial communities, researchers construct their own
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

Scientific and public appreciation for microbes -- and the key role their communal actions play in environmental health, food production, and human wellness -- has grown in recent years. While initially considered to be static, uniform entities, microbial communities are highly complex and contain internal chemical swapfests that are in constant flux. Researchers have demonstrated that the dynamics of these communities can be explained and even predicted by examining the variability trait of microbial social interactions.

Zebrafish teach researchers more about atrial fibrillation
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

Genetic research in zebrafish has surprised the researchers behind the study. The results have the potential to change the prevalent perception of the cardiac disorder atrial fibrillation.

New method to enable the production of cheaper, longer-lasting vaccines
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

A new method to produce vaccines that have a longer shelf-life, are cheaper and can be stored without the need for cooling has been developed.

Novel composite antimicrobial film could take a bite out of foodborne illnesses
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

A novel composite film -- created by the bonding of an antimicrobial layer to conventional, clear polyethylene plastic typically used to vacuum-package foods such as meat and fish -- could help to decrease foodborne illness outbreaks, according to researchers.

'Ancient' cellular discovery key to new cancer therapies
Posted on Tuesday January 21, 2020

Researchers have uncovered a metabolic system which could lead to new strategies for therapeutic cancer treatment. A team has found a link between a metabolic system in a yeast, and now mammals, which is critical for the regulation of cell growth and proliferation.

Becoming less active and gaining weight: Downsides of becoming an adult
Posted on Monday January 20, 2020

Leaving school and getting a job both lead to a drop in the amount of physical activity, while becoming a mother is linked to increased weight gain, conclude two reviews.

Combined prenatal smoking and drinking greatly increases SIDS risk
Posted on Monday January 20, 2020

Children born to mothers who both drank and smoked beyond the first trimester of pregnancy have a 12-fold increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) compared to those unexposed or only exposed in the first trimester of pregnancy, according to a new study.

Dozens of non-oncology drugs can kill cancer cells
Posted on Monday January 20, 2020

Researchers tested approximately 4,518 drug compounds on 578 human cancer cell lines and found nearly 50 that have previously unrecognized anti-cancer activity. These drugs have been used to treat conditions such as diabetes, inflammation, alcoholism, and even arthritis in dogs. The findings suggest a possible way to accelerate the development of new cancer drugs or repurpose existing drugs to treat cancer.

Ingestible medical devices can be broken down with light
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Engineers have developed a light-sensitive material that allows gastrointestinal devices to be triggered to break down inside the body when they are exposed to light from an ingestible LED.

Human fetal lungs harbor a microbiome signature
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

The lungs and placentas of fetuses in the womb -- as young as 11 weeks after conception -- already show a bacterial microbiome signature, which suggests that bacteria may colonize the lungs well before birth. This first-time finding deepens the mystery of how the microbes or microbial products reach those organs before birth and what role they play in normal lung and immune system development.

Neuron found in mice could have implications for effective diet drugs
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

A CALCR cell found in mice may stop feeding without subsequential nauseating effects, as well as influence the long term intake of food.

Acid reflux drugs may have negative side effects for breast cancer survivors
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Acid reflux drugs that are sometimes recommended to ease stomach problems during cancer treatment may have an unintended side effect: impairment of breast cancer survivors' memory and concentration.

Real risks associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

A new study has definitively shown that regular exposure to THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, during pregnancy has significant impact on placental and fetal development.

Activation of a distinct genetic pathway can slow the progress of metastatic breast cancer
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Activation of the BMP4 signalling pathway presents a new therapeutic strategy to combat metastatic breast cancer, a disease that has shown no reduction in patient mortality over the past 20 years.

Rich rewards: Scientists reveal ADHD medication's effect on the brain
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

Researchers have identified how certain areas of the human brain respond to methylphenidate -- a stimulant drug which is used to treat symptoms of ADHD. The work may help researchers understand the precise mechanism of the drug and ultimately develop more targeted medicines for the condition.

Focus on opioids and cannabis in chronic pain media coverage
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

New Zealand media reports on chronic pain are focusing on treatments involving opioids and cannabis at the expense of best practice non-drug treatments, researchers have found.

Cheap drug may alleviate treatment-resistance in leukemia
Posted on Friday January 17, 2020

A common and inexpensive drug may be used to counteract treatment resistance in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the most common forms of blood cancer. The researchers will now launch a clinical study to test the new combination treatment in patients.

New vulnerability in kidney cancer
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Medical researchers have identified a possible way to treat tumors while sparing nearby healthy tissue.

Edible 'security tag' to protect drugs from counterfeit
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers are aiming to stump drug counterfeiters with an edible 'security tag' embedded into medicine. To imitate the drug, a counterfeiter would have to uncrack a complicated puzzle of patterns not fully visible to the naked eye.

Mix of stress and air pollution may lead to cognitive difficulties in children
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Children with elevated exposure to early life stress in the home and elevated prenatal exposure to air pollution exhibited heightened symptoms of attention and thought problems, according to researchers. Early life stress is common in youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who also often live in areas with greater exposure to air pollution.

Helping patients prep mind and body for surgery pays off
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

An inexpensive program to help surgery patients get physically and mentally ready for their upcoming operation may help reduce overall costs and get them home faster, according to new research involving hundreds of patients in 21 hospitals.

Low doses of radiation used in medical imaging lead to mutations in cell cultures
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Common medical imaging procedures use low doses of radiation that are believed to be safe. A new study, however, finds that in human cell cultures, these doses create breaks that allow extra bits of DNA to integrate into the chromosome.

A secreted signature of aging cells
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Senescent cells undergo an irreversible and permanent arrest of cell division and are hallmarks of both the aging process and multiple chronic diseases. Senescent cells -- and more importantly the factors they secrete, known collectively as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) -- are widely accepted as drivers of aging and multiple age-related diseases.

Efficacy of drugs against pork tapeworm
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Taenia solium -- also called pork tapeworm -- is a parasite which causes disease around the world, particularly in very poor communities with deficient sanitation and where pigs roam free. Researchers have now analyzed the efficacy and adverse effects of three chemotherapeutics against T. solium.

Researchers investigate molecule, VISTA, which keeps immune system quiet against cancer
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers are studying a valuable target in regulating the immune response in cancer and autoimmunity. VISTA is a tempering molecule that hinders T cells in the immune system from activating against self-antigens such as cancer cells. Their new publication describes how VISTA controls T-cell responses.

Improved brain chip for precision medicine
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A biomedical research team is reporting an improvement on a microfluidic brain cancer chip. The new chip allows quick assessment of the effectiveness of cancer drugs on brain tumors.

Study unravels new insights into a Parkinson's disease protein
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

The new study explores alpha-synuclein's basic properties, with a focus on a section of the protein known as the non-amyloidal component (NAC). The research was done on fruit fly larvae that were genetically engineered to produce both normal and mutated forms of human alpha-synuclein.

Sepsis associated with 1 in 5 deaths globally, double previous estimate
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Twice as many people as previously believed are dying of sepsis worldwide, according to a new analysis. Among them are a disproportionately high number of children in poor areas.

Cancer study may accidentally help researchers create usable blood stem cells
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A new study shows that cancer-causing MLL gene may also push pluripotent stem cells to make hematopoietic stem cells, a strong step in the decades-long effort to make personalizable, durable blood stem cells.

New method detects toxin exposure from harmful algal blooms in human urine
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A newly developed method can detect even low-dose human exposure to microcystins and nodularin in human urine. During harmful algal blooms (HABs), species of cyanobacteria release toxic peptides, including microcystins and nodularin into waterways, impacting wildlife and humans living in these marine environments. These findings are the first to report microcystin concentrations directly from exposed residents impacted by cyanobacteria in Florida, and is a critical step in developing and interpreting clinical diagnostic tests for HABs exposure worldwide.

Bartonella bacteria found in hemangiosarcoma tumors from dogs
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers have found a very high prevalence of Bartonella bacteria in tumors and tissues - but not blood samples - taken from dogs with hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels.

Making sense of the self
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Interoception is the awareness of our physiological states. But precisely how the brain calculates and reacts to this information remains unclear. Neuroscientists now demonstrate how the insular cortex orchestrates the process. The work represents the first steps toward understanding the neural basis of interoception, which could allow researchers to address key questions in eating disorders, obesity, drug addiction, and a host of other diseases.

Sleep linked to language skills in neurodevelopmental disorders
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

New research has discovered that Down's syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and Williams syndrome are all linked to sleep disruption in very young children, and that sleep plays a crucial role in the development of these children's language skills.

Progress in unraveling the mystery of the genomics of Parkinson's disease
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

The International Parkinson Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC) has now been in existence for ten years. The consortium now reviews the progress made over the past decade in the genomics of Parkinson's disease (PD) and related disorders including Lewy body diseases, progressive supranuclear palsy, and multiple system atrophy and looks ahead at its future direction and research priorities.

Lights on for germ-free wound dressings
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Infections are a dreaded threat that can have fatal consequences after an operation, in the treatment of wounds, and during tissue engineering. Biomimetic hydrogels with 'built-in' antimicrobial properties can significantly decrease this danger. Scientists have now introduced a gel that is activated by red light to produce reactive oxygen compounds that effectively kill bacteria and fungi.

Physicists design 'super-human' red blood cells to deliver drugs to specific targets
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A team of physicists from McMaster University has developed a process to modify red blood cells so they can be used to distribute drugs throughout the body, which could specifically target infections or treat catastrophic diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's.

Cells protect themselves against stress by keeping together
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

For the first time, research shows that the contacts between cells, known as cell adhesion, are essential for cells to survive stress. The findings also suggest that impaired cell adhesion may sensitize cancer cells to drugs that damage cell proteins and cause stress.

A wearable gas sensor for health and environmental monitoring
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A highly sensitive, wearable gas sensor for environmental and human health monitoring may soon become commercially available.

Walnuts may be good for the gut and help promote heart health
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers found that eating walnuts daily as part of a healthy diet was associated with increases in certain bacteria that can help promote health. Additionally, those changes in gut bacteria were associated with improvements in some risk factors for heart disease.

Whooping cough evolving into a superbug
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Whooping cough bacteria are becoming smarter at colonizing and feeding off unwitting hosts -- whether they have been vaccinated or not -- strengthening calls for a new vaccine.

Pulling the plug on calcium pumps -- potential new treatment strategy for pancreatic cancer
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

UK scientists have identified a new way to kill pancreatic cancer cells by 'pulling the plug' on the energy generator that fuels calcium pumps on their cell surface. The study reports how switching off the cancer's energy supply causes the pancreatic cancer cells to become 'poisoned' by an irreversible build-up of calcium.

Hormone resistance in breast cancer linked to DNA 'rewiring'
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Researchers have revealed changes to the 3D arrangement of DNA linked to treatment resistance in ER+ breast cancer.

Body's natural signal carriers can help melanoma spread
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A new study sheds fresh light on how melanoma cells interact with other cells via extracellular vesicles they secrete. The researchers found that extracellular vesicles secreted by melanoma cells use the so-called hedgehog signalling pathway to intensify the malignant properties of the cells they are targeting. The discovery can help in the development of better treatment and diagnostics for melanoma.

Jumping genes threaten egg cell quality
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A woman's supply of eggs is finite, so it is crucial that the quality of their genetic material is ensured. New work elucidates a mechanism by which, even before birth, the body tries to eliminate egg cells of the poorest quality.

Hookah smoke may be associated with increased risk of blood clots
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

In a new study conducted in mice, researchers found that tobacco smoke from a hookah caused blood to function abnormally and be more likely to clot and quickly form blood clots. The findings provide new evidence that hookah smoking may not be a safe alternative to cigarettes.

Women's blood vessels age faster than men's
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

Many medical experts have long believed that women simply 'catch up' to men in terms of their cardiovascular risk, but new research shows for the first time that women's blood vessels age at a faster rate than men's. The findings could help to explain why women tend to develop different types of cardiovascular disease and with different timing than men.

Sticky situation inside blood vessels can worsen stroke damage
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A stroke appears to create a sticky situation inside the blood vessels of the brain that can worsen damage days, even months later, scientists report.

Mutations in donors' stem cells may cause problems for cancer patients
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

A new study suggests that extremely rare, harmful genetic mutations present in healthy donors' stem cells -- though not causing health problems in the donors -- may be passed on to cancer patients receiving stem cell transplants, potentially creating health problems for the recipients. Among the concerns are heart damage, graft-versus-host disease and possible new leukemias.

Obesity crisis blamed for a rise in fatty liver disease amongst young adults
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

One in five young people have fatty liver disease (steatosis), with one in 40 having already developed liver scarring (fibrosis), new research has found. The study is the first to attempt to determine the prevalence of fatty liver disease and fibrosis in young healthy adults in the UK.

Falling risk of heart disease among survivors of child cancer since the 1970s
Posted on Thursday January 16, 2020

There has been a measurable decline in serious heart conditions among adult survivors of childhood cancer since the 1970s, finds a new study.

Molecular understanding of drug interactions suggests pathway to better malaria treatments
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Researchers have for the first time demonstrated what happens at the molecular level when two compounds known to inhibit crystal growth were combined, yielding new insights into malaria treatments and, more broadly, improving the process of drug development.

Blue light can help heal mild traumatic brain injury
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Daily exposure to blue wavelength light each morning helps to re-entrain the circadian rhythm so that people get better, more regular sleep which was translated into improvements in cognitive function, reduced daytime sleepiness and actual brain repair.

MS drug costs nearly triple over 7 years, even with introduction of generic
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

The cost of prescriptions for multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs nearly tripled over seven years, and the introduction of a generic version of one of the most common drugs had little overall effect on prices, according to a new study.

Researchers discover novel potential target for drug addiction treatment
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

New research discovers a novel potential target for treating drug addiction through 'the hidden stars of the brain.'

Researchers identify gene with functional role in aging of eye
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Researchers say a gene known to be a biomarker of age plays a key role in age-associated functional and anatomical aging in mouse retinas, a finding that has direct relevance to age-related eye diseases.

Glimpses of fatherhood found in non-pair-bonding chimps
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Although they have no way of identifying their biological fathers, male chimpanzees form intimate bonds with them, a finding that questions the idea of fatherhood in some of humanity's closest relatives, according to a study of wild chimpanzees in Uganda.

B-cell enrichment predictive of immunotherapy response in melanoma, sarcoma and kidney cancer
Posted on Wednesday January 15, 2020

Multiple studies out indicate that a patient's response to immune checkpoint blockade may depend on B cells located in special structures within the tumor.


 

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